Pedro Alvarez back with Pirates after hitting .365 at Triple-A

3 Comments

Placed on the disabled list in mid-May with a quadriceps injury and then demoted to Triple-A once healthy last month, Pedro Alvarez is back in the majors thanks to the Pirates putting outfielder Alex Presley on the DL.

Just last week manager Clint Hurdle indicated that recalling Alvarez wasn’t in the team’s immediate plans and clubhouse attendants clearing out his locker a few days ago seemingly cemented that status, but Presley’s thumb injury changed things apparently.

Alvarez has played well since the demotion, hitting .365 with three homers and a 1.048 OPS in 18 games, and his 18/12 K/BB ratio is a big improvement over both his 161/49 K/BB ratio in the majors and previous marks in the minors.

He hit just .208 with two homers and a .587 OPS in 36 games for the Pirates before the injury and Alvarez may have to impress right away in order to remain in Pittsburgh down the stretch, because Presley’s bruised thumb isn’t expected to sideline him for very long.

Sandy Leon homered twice in one inning, including a grand slam

Matt Hazlett/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.

Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.

How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.

As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.

Phillies release veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday

Elsa/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Phillies announced on Monday that the club released veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday. Both were competing for the back-up catcher spot on the team’s 25-man roster. With both out of the picture, that means Andrew Knapp has won that honor.

Knapp, 25, hit a combined .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 443 plate appearances last year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He did not have a great spring but has hit well as of late, which likely pushed him ahead of Hanigan and Holaday. Knapp will serve as the understudy to starting catcher Cameron Rupp.